During January/February the hot weather was hellish and exhausting to work in. The countryside is bone dry, looking like another planet. In early March we received atmospheric dew at night, and a slight greening is being seen on lawns.

Over the last few weeks, most crops have been harvested and this, along with extreme dry conditions and lack of food sources, will force rodents into sheds. From now on in, robbing will be a major issue; necessitating working early a.m. and near dusk. Looking forward to a quieter April. On a very positive note, during February and early March, 10-day-old cells are having a 10-day turnaround of mated laying queens.

Good-sized virgins have emerged from these queen cells. Photo: Maggie James.

Despite wasp numbers high in spring, wasps are now very low. Maybe we have the extreme heat to thank.

Honey yields have been appalling, with extraction plants shutting early. Also contributing to low yields, as in other parts of the country, is the spread of dairying. In this area there is a definite rise in mainly wind- pollinated cereal grain crops, which no doubt will increase as our Mid Canterbury summer temperatures rise.

- Maggie James